Harry Potter show moving forward at Max, with J.K. Rowling "expected to be involved"

J.K. Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter books, but has been in the news more in recent years for her avowed transphobia. Those two personas are about to collide.

Photo: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.. Image Courtesy Jam City
Photo: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.. Image Courtesy Jam City /

Last year, Warner Bros. Discovery announced that they were making a TV show based on the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, all about a boy wizard who saves the world while attending a magical boarding school. The books are iconic successes, the Harry Potter movies remain beloved to this day, and now WBD wants to make lightning strike thrice with a TV show.

The studio announced the show very early in development; only now are writers pitching their visions for the show to WBD, according to Deadline. The lineup includes Martha Hillier, Kathleen Jordan, Tom Moran and Michael Lesslie, a mix of Americans and Brits.

We're probably a good long while off from hearing anything about casting. But there is one high-profile name already associated with the show: J.K. Rowling, who dreamed up Harry Potter in the first place. Rowling has become a political lightning rod in recent years after being vocal about her transphobic beliefs, doing everything from liking transphobic tweets to opposing legislation that would make it easier for trans people to be legally recognized as their gender. It's arguabe that Rowling is better known these days as a bigot than an author. The very popular Twitter page Discussing Film made waves the other week when it ran a news item about Rowling and identified her as "known transphobe J.K. Rowling" rather than "Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling" or something like that. And given what she's most often been in the news for the past few years, I can't say it's off-base.

Give the hubbub involving J.K. Rowling, you'd think WBD might want to distance itself from her; that's what WB Games did when promoting its Harry Potter video game Hogwarts Legacy. And Rowling was left out of a Harry Potter reunion special that aired on Max. It's unclear what changed between now and then, but Deadline reports that she's executive producer on the series and is "expected to be involved in the decision-making."

We'll see what form that takes, or what the discussion will look like a few years down the road when the show actually airs on Max. Will Rowling have rehabilitated her image by then, or will she have dug herself in deeper? Given Rowling's well-documented opposition to trans rights, I'm curious about what changes she may want made to the story. For instance, she's written about the danger posed by trans women being allowed to enter women's bathrooms, operating under the transphobic assumption that trans women are men pretending to be women so they can assault cisgender women. So where does that leave all the scenes in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets where Harry and Ron hang out in the girl's lavatory talking to Moaning Myrtle?

Buckle your seatbelts; this could get weird.

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